I don't feel comfortable in a world of irrationality; it feels unsafe as it is too chaotic for my tastes. But a world of only rationality lacks color, warmth and meaning; it is hard, unyielding and resistantly cold. A cold that cannot be warmed. Perhaps surety and appointed sages are a safety net for some in the world beyond the natural senses, and for many, it is a short tether to the mother ship. I don't want to snap the tether and go hurtling out into the depths of space, but I would like to extend the tether and venture out without fear. In him we live and move and have our being, but perhaps we fail to live to the extent we can and our movement is limited and our being is diminished. Maybe I don't even need the protection of the space suit, for the unexplored is a realm where I was designed to dwell and I just need to learn how to breathe in this I know divine protection for the core of myself that is beyond, and if it is dangerous to my flesh, so be it. When my flesh is gone, I will not die; I will be more alive. Now I am becoming, What I will be. All my days, Before they emerged. Time and space Constrain my body Still I can touch Eternity in my heart.
We didn’t intend to be gone so long, as either I would be admitted and T would go back to the house and take care of Jez, or I would be treated quickly and return home.
Actually none of the above happened. My neighbor picked me up around 3 pm, and after we got everything packed up, Jez went into her crate with food, water, treats, and toys. I couldn’t even leave, “calm the doggie while you are away” music from YouTube as I wanted to take my laptop. Yes, I have low-level technology somewhere in the closet but didn’t feel like hunting for it. I hope she won’t be too sad, but at least she will be safe, along with a lot of other things.
And let’s just say she seemed rather traumatized when we returned around 11 pm and didn’t as usual, jump out of her crate and on me and try to get into something new and interesting, but sat there looking rather dazed, like she was saying, “What the #$#%#$ did I do to merit 8 hours in prison. I couldn’t have done anything that bad. Mom abandoned me and now she is back with that neighbor I don’t like. You know why I don’t like her? Don’t think I didn’t hear her call me, “ugly cute,” and it is very rude to comment on the appearance of even a lowly non-Sapien in their presence, and then she had the audacity to diss my puggy-whatever mix people by saying I looked like I was an alien, although I might accept it as a compliment that the kid who came home from university said I looked like Dobie the House Elf from Harry Potter, as I acknowledge a bit of resemblance, but it doesn’t apply to the personality of that sniveling submissive to humans thing.
So, while driving down the 15: “Claire, do you know how to get to the hospital?”
Me: “I thought you had GPS? I would have looked it up?”
T: “It doesn’t have wifi, you have to have a hotspot”
Me: It didn’t occur to me that T didn’t know how to get there. “I know it is on Genesee.”
T: I know how to get to UCSD
Me: Kid said the hospital is less than two miles from the university.
This is low-tech driving. We drive to the university, and T stops a student and asks how to get to the hospital. (Hooray for vintage driving direction methods.) It is a couple turns and we see the signs.
After two previous increasingly traumatic experiences, T parks and picks up a wheelchair from a lined up group. We go in. Immediately I am triaged and then with no wait I am in a comfy room. “Is there anything else I can do to help you,” asks the first of many hunky, young residents?
I am shaking. “I am kind of cold.”
“Here, let’s try this.” He wraps me up in a blanket. Wow, this is a five-star hospital. Dare I look to see if there is a Godiva chocolate under my pillow? After I am warmed up, hunky, young resident helps me change. A nurse comes in and asks permission to draw my blood. Do you mean you are not just going to stab me?
Everything is just done so bang-up top notch here, I will have to go home and write a bang-up review on Yelp. I may not be good at a lot of things, but one thing I can do is write scintillatingly glowing reviews on Yelp, and likewise write devastatingly critical reviews everywhere, and this is with the crust over my eyes from this pinkeye obscuring my vision. There is something to be said about perseverance as a character trait. This is not like those one-star reviews that say, “I only gave this one star because there was no zero star option, no negative =100 star option and they block profanity.”
And for a certain person who for whatever convoluted reason does not seem to respect the requirement of clinical pharmacology for certain subsets of the population (vague enough?) and fails to follow through on reasonable medical advice or even make said appointment, I assume making a public spectacle of satirical mockery of some of our apparently esteemed establishments until one enters these denizens of multiple code violations, without even mentioning codes of sanity and common sense must be evidence of paranoia because they are just doing their jobs (doing their jobs mean the patient leaves alive, at least 87% of the time.)
Such very Ashkenazi Jewish style kvetching about anything and everything is clear and uncontroverted evidence that the described author must be having a steroid psychosis like your mom did in the hospital at the age of 90 and that people are laughing at the stuff you write so you must be in a state of bipolar mania, doesn’t get that little kiddie ditty that when you point a finger at someone else you are pointing three at yourself? You didn’t learn that on the playground? What were YOU doing on the playground; I don’t think I want to know.
Thank you to my caregiver (the great one, not the sheltered workshop candidate who couldn’t even comprehend that when you knock on the door of a person having health problems, you wait a minute, not leave them to arrive at the door and think it must be Amazon but fail to see a package, and then 2 minutes later you hear a knock that must be coming from the garage (when has anyone ever knocked on my garage) and you explain that the door was left unlocked for the very purpose that I may not be able to arrive at such door and left that message with your agency that the door was left unlocked for that very reason and just please come in and don’t make me try to get out of bed and struggle with my walker to the door? You said the door was locked? Well, did the agency ever bother to include in its training program that you turn the handle?
Jez, I’m sorry. I know we should not make fun of people who can’t help their limitations. I have nothing against these brave souls. My beef is with their bosses who should know better than to attempt to pull one over on me, clearly being aware of my needs and their employees’ stringent limitations, and not think they can charge me top dollar (rather than pay me) to train and supervise their employees with, um, special requirements, like hand-holding, constant direction and encouragement and the ultimate in sensitivity to their delicate emotional state. If someone were to expect me to train, supervise, hand-hold and provide emotional support to one of their employees, I would be the one doing the billing, and that is not even my thing so I would refer to someone who would find this line of work more fulfilling and have the skills to accomplish. I know you are aware I am not some kind of stupid, but you might think I would be too polite and compassionate to complain. I rarely do polite, but can at times do compassionate, but not at $24 an hour. Do you think I am joking? The minute she finally manages to get in the house, she makes a bee-line for my bathroom.
Nobody uses my bathroom. My bathroom must be left open like a fire lane, with dire consequences for blockage, and often it isn’t exactly guest friendly. Okay, at times Jez sneaks in to unravel the tp or try to find and chew shampoo bottles that I might have forgotten I now have to only put on the upper shelf, and now our lower-shelf is non-functional, unless you want every item covered with teeth marks, if indeed it doesn’t get absconded away for dining at a nicer location; my bed. I tell her to use the other bathroom, and she asks me how to flush the toilet? Yes, the handle is a bit busted until we can find the time to replace it, but tape and a rubber band on a toilet handle doesn’t alter the method of use. In addition, I would rather she not even bother to flush the toilet, which some more competent person could easily do, in fact, I have seen dogs trained to flush, so that may be Jezzie’s next training goal.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am massively supportive of providing employment opportunities for persons with limitations and disabilities. I read about a restaurant in Jerusalem run entirely by a staff of persons with Down Syndrome. They are so genuinely proud of their products and joyful in serving customers that customers leave them humongous tips, and would never dream of complaining, but joyfully welcome every wrong order, mix up and slightly imperfect entree. But this is a restaurant where customers know what they are getting.
Dinner is one thing and one doesn’t risk life and limb even by having a bad meal, but you wouldn’t send these enthusiastic employees to the house of a seriously ill person with the understanding they would provide high-level professional care that the customer is paying for. And she didn’t even exhibit the personable qualities of these waiters, cooks, and hosts/hostesses with Downs. She came in looking like a frightened toddler that had lost her mother in the Walmart, or a scared rabbit that got separated from the pack in the county park, and was quite nasty and sullen when I perceived she couldn’t understand me and asked what language she spoke. “English,” she said with an extremely nasty snarl at my lack of political correctness to dare to ask such a question as she didn’t appear to comprehend simple instructions in the language.
The next thing she did was ask where to put her food. It was an endless list of questions, and I should have just called to agency to come remove her right away, but I had this fixation that I had to get to a professionally run medical establishment today for both my physical and mental health, and had some deluded idea that she could at least drive and arrive at our destination safely. Thank you, Ter, for offering to take me, when all I did was ask if you could make sure puppy survives if I was admitted. That still would have been a disaster, as I doubt she could have completed the basic tasks of driving 30 miles, parking the car at the hospital, finding a wheelchair for me and getting me inside without a 2-year course of instruction that my critical situation lacked the time to provide. You may have heard jokes about people who can’t find their tuches with both hands and a compass? Well, I know a number who we could add to that list continually and detailed instruction and correction. Don’t they have an app for that yet? As you may have noted, patience isn’t my virtue.
You know that your reward for such kindness is hubby is buying you a new laptop since your old one went phooey. Oh, he doesn’t know it, at least not yet. He never reads my stuff on FB although he has said, “Send it to me,” just to shut me up when I have sought to share something I found brilliant and humorous which of course I think so because I wrote it.
Now Jez, hubby thinks the reason mom is a bit more high strung than usual is that she has been off her meds, her legal CA medical cannabis meds that is. Well, given my respiratory problems with asthma due to cold from hell were sufficient to put me on that nasty Prednisone, I don’t think vaping would be okay; I never smoke. While not eating, I don’t think even the tiniest bit of medical cannabis chocolate bar – and they make them really good you can’t even taste it if you buy the high-end stuff and we always buy high-end weed, what kind of family do you think we are, low class? So he wanted me to call our local delivery guy and purchase something that I could use given all my conditions, like a liquid or gummy edible. The local guys who deliver weed like pizza, with the only difference is that their minimum is usually around $60, so hubby would need to bring me $60 in cash, which he was happy to do, so happy, or so eager to keep me comatose that he brought back $200 in cash and presented it to me, strongly pressuring me, “When are you going to call the weed guy, I suggest you do it now.”
But I thought the better of it, as with all my ailments and meds, I don’t need to take a chance on creating more problems than I have, especially with any interactions with that nasty but life-saving drug Prednisone, that the doc at UCSD insisted I stop tapering and remain at 20 mg at least until my specialist appointment on Tue. In addition, I think all I need to validate Mr. Inconsistent’s narrative that I am the crazy one is for me to have some nasty interaction, and then he has proof; mommy is not only crazy, she is a substance abuser, albeit one legal in progressive CA. So I gave Ter the $200 to care for the dog, and said she gets to keep it even though I wasn’t admitted to the hospital. Buy yourself a new laptop, and she said she would like one like mine, and we will keep it between us where the $$$ came from.
I asked, “So, how am I going to deal with this insomnia?” I asked the shortish but CA surfer cute doc that was likely in his mid-thirties, and of course, quite buff. I don’t know if the US Dept. of Labor is aware that the tony community of La Jolla has a secret, “gentlemen’s agreement,” (you really ought to look up that other nasty scandal if you have time) which requires all hires to be a 9/10 in appearance. This has been repeatedly supported via longitudinal studies and has been published in respected journals.
He told me he would write me a prescription for a controlled substance, really a pain in the tuches as I learned from the nurse all the stringencies required for those meds. They cannot phone it in so it is ready, you have to take the prescription in yourself. And she didn’t think I could send my caregiver in to pick it up for me, although I recall hubby was able to pick up my Schedule whatever meds when I was released from the hospital. It turned out my caregiver was able to pick everything up for me.
“Can I get it here?” I was told no, the hospital pharmacy was not open on Sunday. That is because the state religion is beach volleyball and frisbee, and it is the dominant local sect that one disses at one’s peril.
He was also going to provide me with a prescription for the nasty Prednisone as I wouldn’t have enough if I stop tapering, but 20 appears easier on the body than the 40 that royally snafued and balaganed (know this is not the correct Hebrew verb form) it.
I was told that my wonderful caregiver who could only spend 4 wonderful hours with me because she already had plans with her husband, and sadly wasn’t available the day they sent the walking disaster instead (she could walk, I will give that to her, which is more than I can do at times) was their, “rock-star.” I suspect by, “rock-star,” you mean that she is perhaps your ONLY employee that is both competent, self-motivated, has excellent interpersonal skills and is genuinely a fun person to be around, for me at least. No, it is not just a matter of a good fit. A good employee is a good fit no matter what, and it is the person being paid that becomes the fit, not the paying customer. Maybe they don’t teach this in business school, but I would think it common knowledge.
And it is a crime that you likely pay someone like this minimum wage, so you can profit off her extraordinary skills (hey, if she is your, “rock-star,” how about you pay her like one?)) My parents pay their part-time caregiver for my mother with Alzheimer’s $15 an hour, which is the going rate in the DC/Metro area, and I suspect about the same here, but CA tends to be a bit more.
See, I have already offered rock star my one digit size clothes which I doubt I will ever get into despite the fact that I haven’t eaten for more than a month and have lost 25 pounds. No please, do not try this diet plan at home. I have this closet full of stuff I haven’t worn in ages because I have been too lazy, even when well, and it hurts me to give away some really nice stuff, including business attire which I will never wear again as I plan to never work in that environment again. I will only work in an environment where I don’t need to even get dressed or brush my teeth until I feel like it, and can lounge around in comfy gowns.
Not only that, when I feel better and can eat I will take her out for sushi. There really is a connection to find a Mexican who doesn’t really like Mexican food because she likes healthy food. Well, guacamole is pretty good, and some of the fish dishes. I know my kid likes Mexican food, even after choking on a burrito led to a quick trip to the ER – the same one I went to. I shudder at what might have transpired had darling son gone to zero stars third-world shithole hospital ER. I am so proud of my courageous son, who informed me he ate his first post-endoscopy aided digested burrito.
Sorry, forgot, rock star finds sushi disgusting. Okay, there is a place called, “Pita Guys,” nearby that serves this excellent, inexpensive fresh and healthy Mideastern themed fare. My husband loves the place, their sport tv thing, and the staff, even though we are Jewish and they are Arab terrorists. One thing I admire about crazy husband is he has this ability to get along with anyone, which I sorely lack. And he doesn’t like me to call them, “Arab terrorists,” because they are assimilated Americans. But some brilliant idiots are not aware that the little necklace they wear around their necks is not a demonstration of a history lesson, it means we want to drive every Jew in their Palestine into the sea because poor and starving fish deserve their dinner just like everyone else.
I doubt they know that both mom and older son are ardent advocates for Zionism, and we don’t mean those nutcases going around doing violent stuff, and they do it to us too. They don’t know that (umm, I may get in trouble for this, because my kids have informed me that I may write about stuff they did when they were kids, but not current stuff) but I think this is pretty common knowledge, so need to know applies here.
My older son was in serious negotiations to enter the IDF and he wanted to join an elite unit after graduating university. If he spoke Hebrew, and the lazy little twerp refused to learn, even basic stuff, he would have been an officer and m’faked. See, the word in Hebrew for commander is m’faked. I bet English-speaking recruits recognize what that sounds like. What a great language Hebrew is, that you get to call your military commander a F@@@head! But lazy kid told me everyone speaks English, and during his two months in Israel following Birthright, he learned only two Hebrew phrases, “Ma shlomcha,” which means, “How are you,” or literally, “how is your peace,” and, “ben zonah,” and the latter term is found in the bible describing Rahab’s profession with the phrase translated as, “son of a whore,” and is heard commonly in the streets, which is probably how my son picked up these two phrases that one might commonly find heard equally and often one following the other.
I even asked my parent’s assistant rabbi, who I have had numerous wonderful dealings with if he would write a letter saying my son is Jewish on synagogue letterhead, despite the fact that he has never met my son, who could be a Hari Krishna for all he knew. Rabbi Safra graciously agreed, saying he had done this many times. The rabbis at my son’s university refused, directing him to find an Orthodox rabbi in San Diego, but we don’t know any. I knew a few nice guys online, but that doesn’t exactly fit the bill, for me to ask them, no matter how good FB buds we are, to write a letter on their letterhead claiming my son who they have never met is Jewish because that would require that his mother who they have never met is Jewish.
We don’t even belong to a synagogue, and I might have attended High Holiday Services at the local Chabad, not because I am into their culture and halacha, but because the rabbi and his wife are so nice and his wife is an incredible cook and their kids are so sweet and smart, even if they pull the succot lights requiring the services of the friendly neighborhood Shabbos goy lest we spend the rest of the dinner in darkness. I tactfully explained that I have an extreme anxiety disorder, due to my UC, of finding myself in a packed environment where there is any chance of a bathroom line. He noted he understood and didn’t ask any further questions.
However, the fact that we have little formal connection to the San Diego Jewish community, I am very active online, and hubby faithfully davens every Shabbat at Beth Golf or with the doctors from work, including lots of Jewish ones, so I think that might be something akin to synagogue membership.
Back to the IDF. (I am sooo going to get in trouble with this, with demands that mom delete it right now. Freedom of speech son, includes the rights of moms to write about the shit their kids do and say at any age, although you know I, just out of courtesy, omit issues of sex, drugs and accidentally allowing your cell phone and cash to fall out of your pocket in a taxi and then said taxi driver you hunt down acts like he doesn’t recognize you, and I will take your word that you only had two beers when this occurred.
Darling son had the brilliant idea of finding a doctor near his university who had no access to his medical records and thus wouldn’t be aware of his Rheumatoid Arthritis to do a physical because this is mild for him and I doubt a typical physical would discover this. How did I manage to raise such a brilliant son that didn’t imagine that week one of Basic Training, when he is on a 25-mile hike carrying a 50-pound pack, he and everyone else wouldn’t notice something out of the ordinary? “I can get in shape,” doesn’t cut it I think, even if that means those hard two workouts at the gym daily. IDF training is probably the toughest in the world, and it doesn’t consist of working out at some swanky gym with a juice bar.
Although new IDF recruits sign a document that recognizes that false information on the intake form is criminal, fibs about physical stuff might just get the person kicked out, or transfer to a jobnik unit, which means one’s tasks are limited to packing parachutes or driving some local macher around town.
But here is where you can get into a real balagan. Lying about psychiatric illness can create a risk of prison, but perhaps for political reasons, I doubt it often happens to Americans. See, I know things have changed a bit, but stigma and practices regarding mental health issues and even garden-variety neurosis and relationship issues are recognized differently in the two societies. In Israel, seeing a therapist, a psychologist or God forbid a psychiatrist is viewed as a person being potentially a danger with a gun and uniform. In that culture, rabbis hold to that role and it doesn’t preempt you from military service, or your bartender, with equal results.
I wonder if Israelis get that in the US, probably at least half, and potentially more Americans who have decent health coverage will see some sort of mental health professional at some time in their lives. In many cases, the reason is not mental illness of the serious variety, but because they desire a paid for friend they see weekly to help de-stress, find support, validation, and encouragement, (often for their own bullshit narrative, relationship advice where your treating professional will agree how horrible your spouse/kids/parents/siblings, friends/coworkers/bosses/plumbers treat you, and of course it is all their fault and not yours. They will spin to your pleasure and the only way to get this paid by for by insurance, this 50 minutes of verbal prostitution service is to make it fit into some DSM code, vague stuff like anxiety, depression, maladjustment – everyone is anxious, depressed, maladjusted or has some personality trait that could be spun as pathological, so why not just dump that large book, it takes up too much space?
Getting back to eating establishments with subtle expressions of support for registered terrorist groups, I wonder if they are unaware, or at least pretend to be unaware, that my ardent Zionist son’s car has several pro-Israel bumper stickers on it. Once I was driving his car to one of their other establishments, and bought a large amount of food to take home for the family. When the polite partner – it is a family owned business, offered to help me carry all this stuff to the car, I had to say no although I really wanted to say yes, due to the bumper stickers that once got my son’s car keyed and tire slit. That was actually dangerous, as his tire blew just as he was about to turn out of his campus lot onto a busy street and could have led to an accident. The community college said they would charge this as a hate crime if the culprit was discovered, likely impossible because there are no cameras in student lots as students don’t count for shit, unlike staff lots that are well lighted and camera-ed.
I figured the culprit must be Palestinian or someone who knows Hebrew, as while there is a Star of David and a small Israeli insignia, the bumper sticker is written in Hebrew, and says, “Kol hakavod L’ Tzehal,” or something like, “Way to go (high five) Israeli military.” “Kavod,” literally means, “glory.”
Now, I got rid of my own car because it would cost more to meet smog than it is worth, plus the air conditioning was busted and would cost $500 to fix for hot CA summers. So I sadly (not really) parted with a very old car that still ran well for $1500 from a government program to get old cars off the road and am currently driving dear son’s college crappy but running car with the offensive to some bumper stickers. I should threaten to sell such car if the kid does not return to at least pay mom a visit and wanted to buy a more adult car, like a Nissan, Toyota, Kia, all at least mid-price and preferably used higher end model. I loved my gas guzzling Avalon that I bought at a great deal for like 10K a long time ago and it was stolen when our house was robbed around 2007.
So, rather than buy a car of equal value with the insurance money which was more than I paid for it, my wonderful neighbor Teresa who is so talented at this sort of stuff saw the old Nissan for like 4K in the neighborhood, but it was all freeway miles by a stewardess for American Airlines who drove it regularly to LA. Tell you a secret, well a sort of open one: I used the balance of the money, plus more milked from my dad to have an abdominoplasty, not covered by insurance, along with an incisional hernia repair which was covered by insurance that went all the way back to my C-section when my second son was born. This was more than cosmetic, as who wants to have their belly hanging down despite all the exercise and diet in the world due to muscle separation from two pregnancies where I sort of gained too much weight, 38 pounds with first and 40 pounds with second, and much of that never came off, at least the second time around, no matter what they tell you.
In addition, if you are from an upper-middle class background, you are as likely to have some form of insurance paid mental health care regularly that is really an opportunity to have someone agree enthusiastically with your views on the biggies of politics, sex, religion and that his kids are ingrates as you are to pick up coffee at the Starbucks drive-thru.
Once I had a psychologist suggest that I not use such hot-button terms like, “crazy,” or even the more medical or scientific term, “irrational,” when referring to our nearest and dearest that clearly exhibit such traits. What, pray tell, did the brilliant doctor think I should use in place of these terms. “Inconsistent,” he said. That is rather weak and innocuous sounding. But I guess it can accurately describe a person who is inconsistent in getting their head out of their tuches, at least enough to consider the needs and requirements of others, so inconsistent with telling the truth that one must make the assumption that everything is a lie and then be pleasantly surprised to discover one or two truths, and completely inconsistent in dependability that what one said yesterday holds true today, because they no longer feel it.
I am so good at rabbit /rabbi trails, so back to the rock star. Yes, you know she is a JW and believes honesty and integrity is critical, not like my Chicago Jewish big macher doctor boss and all-around great guy who left us too soon, who told the agency he got me from after two weeks that he no longer required my services, and then promptly hired me for double what those shitheads were paying me. To me, that is an example of integrity, which includes putting the needs of poor, debt-ridden recent college graduates above the legal maneuvers of corporate slaveholders.
Now the rock-star, and I hope she doesn’t mind me speaking of her on my page, I think was somewhat reticent about letting me know she was a JW. When I asked if she could (please, please, please) come on Sunday, she explained she was going to church. “What church,” I asked, out of curiosity, not to pry. She told me rather circumspectly that she attended a church in Oceanside. When I queried, “What church,” she noted quietly that she was a JW.
I really don’t care what religious beliefs or non-beliefs a person has, I only care about their integrity and character; how they behave. Well, that might be as long as none of her friends show up knocking at my door, especially if I am sleeping. We discussed what I am well aware of regarding JW’s which few other brands of Christians and some idiot Ortho Jews appeared to be unaware of when they crashed a JW convention in Israel because some other jerk rabbi spread a false rumor that the convention planned to publicly baptize hundreds of Jews, leading to a near-riot, that the JW’s were the only religious group as an organization to refuse to capitulate to the Nazis and many died in concentration camps along with my people.
I don’t agree with much of their stuff, but I believe what they have right is the concept that patriotism and nationalism is akin to idolatry, and we are not referring to active and good citizenship. I am talking flag waving, we are better than others, we are the greatest country in the world bullshit, and we can bomb the you know what out of anyone who doesn’t agree. Greatest? Greatest at what? The dumbest math students with the highest esteem regarding their math abilities? The largest percentage of citizens incarcerated in the free world?
I bet most in other major denominations (I know you don’t consider JW’s Christians, but this is not my battle, not my circus not my monkeys,” are blissfully unaware that their great Nazi era sages Bonhoeffer, Niemoller and Barth supported the Nuremberg Laws. In case some of you need a history lesson, these laws prohibited Jews from the professions and fired any so employed, forbid Christians from frequenting Jewish establishments, marrying or cohabiting with Jews and demanded churches turn over any evidence of Jewish background found in their marriage and church membership rolls. Bonhoeffer begged to differ that the only item he would excise from the plan would be interactions between Christians and Jews for the purpose of sharing the love of Jesus like they did such a good job at that? It did take major US Lutheran bodies until the 1980’s to apologize for and denounce their Martin Luther’s famous violently antisemitic tome often used as fodder for Nazi propaganda, “The Jews and Their Lies.”
Look it up sometime. Funny you don’t find that info in any books written by any of their pundits, and I doubt this is taught in any religious seminary (I don’t mean academic religious seminaries.)
Excuse the interruption. When I am writing something, I would rather not interrupt the flow of ideas. But Jez had a flow of something else and the smell was overpowering. Now, while offenses like pottying in inappropriate places that can be easily cleaned up, like tile or floor, are against house rules but mostly ignored like a bad parking job, pottying on mommy’s carpet is a crateable offense, especially as she then had the audacity, to not bother to clean up after herself (okay my kids to this too) but proceeded to go from bad to worse and commence to return to that old substance abuse habit of hers – power cords. Okay, it is only 7:30, but early nap time it is.
I decided I would try to save my life and preserve my sanity by using the money I had saved to buy a nicer, more age appropriate car, as I am too sick to drive now anyway. Thanks Teresa for finding that used Lexis for 10K and you know I could bargain them down, or I would leave that to Ter, who is the most Jewishly talented, in that area, for a first-generation Italian American I know. And Italians, especially my friend who is Sicilian, are often more effective at negotiation than Jews because Jews will be lawyered up and file lawsuits, but Sicilians will make such expensive and time-consuming activities unnecessary. I recall Ter was at my home and chopping onions or something with a very sharp knife, and one guy sitting at my table dared to disagree with one of her opinions about, I don’t recall, I just remember how she held the knife, and sternly warned him, “You don’t disagree with a Sicilian holding a sharp knife,” as the better part of common sense.
I’m tired, so will finish the rest of the post tomorrow. But this experience helped me ponder a deep philosophical question: Between being carried on a stretcher by hot, young fireman or helped to undress and dress by hunky, young residents, after much deliberation, I think I’ll go with the residents, because as an elitist, I prefer spoiled, entitled brainiacs, they possess so much more of a cheerful disposition, and we can discuss something besides the latest celebrity wardrobe malfunction, of which I am barely aware (pun intended) and sports, which, sorry, I am not only not aware who won, I am not even interested in who is playing. I am a sensitive soul who actually finds the hooting and hollering one experiences at games deeply unpleasant.
I wonder if I will join the ranks of the super-straight in high school and college, who turn into wild old ladies…….Already had the purple hair. But those wonderful highlights that got me so many compliments, especially from young people who saw me as the cool mom, made my hair break horribly, so until a more feasible solution is discovered I am back to brown, and this is when I am well enough to get to the hairdresser, as I failed to be well enough to make my pre-holiday one.
Sorry I got off-track. Wait for the continuing story of Jez, and how after my friend left, she managed to knock me over along with my walker, and while I was considering how to manage to get myself up with no one to help, and I am aware some persons with disabilities have service dogs that help them up rather than knock them down, and wouldn’t dream of sticking their little noses in your fresh, hot chicken broth and imported Japanese green tea. Think about that you little monster.
Don’t think I didn’t notice my glasses out of my purse where I always keep them (from YOU) as thanks to Wanita Panza for warning me about her doodles that have chewed up three pairs of expensive glasses, and did I ever give you permission to friend such bad company on FB and chat at night while you think I am asleep?
Apologies to my friends who went to the protest today without my gracious scintillating company, and I understand you created some considerable traffic making it difficult for my helper to arrive here in a timely manner, but we survived, even though Jez pooped in her crate and I was too loopy from the meds they gave me to dare to take her out when she was whining to go at 2 am, and as Jez has never pooped in her crate although she peed a couple times when she was a younger pup, I didn’t think she could stink me out of my own room no matter how much eucalyptus and other random eo’s I frantically applied. But she did.
So, for those of you quaking in your boots at the latest twitter feed by the real guy or one of his many surrogates, please take a deep breath before your natural emotions and the survival skills that are hardwired for the purpose of, duh,” survival, lure you right into the master plan set by He Who Shall Not Be Named, The Abomination that Causes Desolation, the firstborn of the Zombie apocalypse and all around 100% pure schmuck and his bevy of nasty little toady, sociopathic henchmen and kiss-ups.
No, he is not stupid, even though he plays one on tv and whenever that act is beneficial, but not really smart in an academic sense, but he is brilliant at manipulating media and must have an intrinsic understanding of human psychology, what drives people and how to play so skillfully on both desires and fears, which you may have discovered is endemic to your friendly neighborhood sociopath, but this one just has the money, influence, connections, megalomania and all around chutzpah to do oodles of damage, and most of this he will do through us, both those who voted against him, those who voted for him and those lazy irresponsible persons who didn’t bother to even vote.
As an aside, for those enthusiastic fans who mommy dropped you on your head on the concrete as an infant (perhaps deliberately, but I can’t say) or maybe daddy threw you out of the truck because he had a vision of what you might become, in case the Yiddishisms weren’t enough of a clue, (((Claire))). Okay, does that make you feel better? Now you know.
Prior to allowing yourself to be infected by the Zombie virus via his latest tweet, and often if you do just a bit of research or speak with someone knowledgeable in that area, you will discover he is mostly spinning a bunch of bubbe-meises (old grandma’s tales) with just a dollop of truth thrown in, and so why are you succumbing to the latest sky is falling fear and trembling virus, because this distracts you from real issues and hijacks, drains and derails you of the mental and emotional, as well as physical energy you will require to think, organize and act effectively in the days ahead, rather than running around like the firstborn of the undead has a cattle prod up your tuches.
Don’t feel too bad, because this is how humans like us are hardwired, for survival, and when our survival is threatened or appears to be threatened, a switch in the rational part of our brain auto-flips over to manual response to emotion. Just think about our ancestors living on the African savanah likely wouldn’t have lived long enough to procreate if they sat down and considered the philosophical implications of a dangerous animal, dangerous person and as well friendly persons and food sources. I am sure some academic type evolutionary psychologist, or expert in Behavioral Economics, or Consumer Neuroscience could explain this much better. Briefly, we act, even unconsciously, in ways that will allow us to survive and pass our genes on to our offspring, and care for them until they are able to go and do likewise.
Your neurons, synapses, other organic brain parts, nervous system as well as how all these cooperate effectively or don’t, usually allows fear to hijack your higher functions, such as the ability to think logically and rationally, absorb and scrutinize information, and a host of other things you might want to ask someone with a higher pay grade in the sciences, as I took all the easy classes in that genre in university and while the MOOC is on my list, I haven’t gotten there yet.
You have a built-in radar that scans for danger and threat, as well as an on-board radar that scans for good stuff like food, friends and mating opportunities. That is why so many, following activation of the fear/survival module, especially in those so prone, can lead to things like – well just review a history book.
But just a warning that you can learn from history, humans survived as social creatures due to the ability to cooperate, hold to common stories including imagined and intangible realities, (like money, governments, political boundaries) and intersubjective realities like marriage and employment situations. You can read Yuval Haririi’s books, his older one, “A Brief History of Humankind,” and his new book, “Homo Deus; A Brief History of Tomorrow,” or take his excellent Coursera MOOC if this interests you, and he has lectured on both history and futurism on YouTube.
Some of you may have seen the meme showing Nazi’s marching, with the tagline, “Beware of stupid people in large groups.” But I believe that is a wrong description, as it might have warned us to beware of fearful people in large groups or desperate people in large groups or those seeking to raise their status and sense of self-worth in large groups.
And don’t think there aren’t psycho-sociopathic types and groups rubbing their hands together in glee that the emoting, fleeing hoards will run right into their ever so welcoming corrupt arms, as just what we need is to fuel another brand of extremist, rather than cool heads who might not agree on everything cooperating for the common good instead of not letting a good crisis go to waste because it may be a great opportunity to carve out or enlarge their own little fiefdoms. Shame on you!
This is not my field of expertise, but perhaps you can speak with one of my psychologist friends, whose phones are ringing off the hook with clients and not yet clients seeking appointments for anxiety, fear and trembling related to the prospect of the firstborn of the undead and his lovely trophy wife (but not yet, this might be interesting to see the first presidential blow by blow nasty divorce) occupying the White House, and now that day has arrived.
That is if they have not caught the alien invasion virus themselves. Out of curiosity, I wonder how they are going to bill insurance for these services, although I know my therapeutic friends are quite clever with these things, but as far as I know (and what do I know BTW?) there is no DSM code for Paranoid Tyrant Putin Wannabe Anxiety Disorder, but I am sure you will find something that sticks for reimbursement.
I finally got the brilliant idea to move the crate (it was on wheels but not easy to push across carpet) to my son’s empty room (please don’t tell him, it has been cleaned and refreshed.) I opened my windows and dumped out the rest of the 6 oz bottle of eucalyptus and it was survivable, as I thought I would need to hang out in the living room. As I was not quite awake, it took me until morning to get it through my head that I could remove the puppy from aforementioned stinky crate and put her in her carrying case; These are actually designed for airline travel but work for the vet, especially if they don’t want to go.
Back to the reason people are out in swarms, and quite angry too. I just hope this energy gets channeled into something useful.
For those who have philosophical or religious reasons against voting, and I am not referring to you lazy shits even if the powers that be did set out roadblocks purposefully.
Your roadmap to political involvement, the sane kind hopefully, not an equally hysterical and blindly unthinking response, is a process known in Judaism as Pikuah Nefesh (to save a life.) Okay, I know you may not be Jewish, but hear me out, okay?
According to the teaching of Pikuah Nefesh, and there are people who can explain this to you far better, Pikuah Nefesh enables a person to violate any law, tradition or prohibition both civil and religious for the purpose of saving a life, with the exception of adultery, blasphemy, and murder. A life is precious and one may ( I know this sounds awful) lie, cheat, steal, violate existing chains of command, social structure, familiar loyalties and religious prohibitions and sensibilities of all types, except the aforementioned. If you are an atheist/agnostic but some ingrained morals or cultural ways are binding you, maybe think on this.
Seriously, 5 trips to ER since Jan and I don’t need to be concerned about the latest diarrhea coming out of his mouth. At least mine comes out the preferred end. So, I will leave the future of the free world, our nation, our environment and all the anxiety, speculation and attention all in much more capable hands, yours.
(Think please, about how toddlers know how to pull out all the stops to get attention when they are being denied such.) I recall hearing that hubby had taken my older son, then 2 to a local independent coffee shop called La Costa Coffee Roasting, that roasted its own coffee and the smell was heavenly, not even mentioning the coffee. This coffee shop was filled with all sorts of cute ceramic nic nacks – I think you know where this is going.
As he was prone to do, dad got into a long and interesting conversation with another patron, or was it an employee? I don’t recall, but one thing he was doing was ignoring a 2-year-old who said he was tired and bored and wanted to go home. So, what would any upset, angry and frustrated, likely nap-deprived toddler do to get dad’s elsewhere attention? He grabbed the nearest item, a cute little ceramic spoon, and flung it onto the floor. A piece of said cute little spoon broke off, bounced up and hit a customer in the cheek, giving him a slight cut and fortunately missing his eye.
The customer was immediately attended to by the manager with a first aid kit and sent home with a couple comped pounds of his favorite coffee (I hope he picked the Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee @$35 per pound, and yes I know there is top flight stuff that is more than $300 per pound but even though this was an upscale place, it wasn’t THAT upscale. The spoon retailed at $18 and the staff informed dad that they would charge him their wholesale price $9.00 for damages, so he got off cheap. Does any of this seem familiar, I mean, outside of the limited injury, responsibility for damages and quick and easy resolution? Now, the kind staff did not say that my toddler was persona non grata at their business until he graduated college, but I think that message got across.
So, I have some suggestions on how to navigate this present darkness, but it may be unique to me and not work for you. I recently took an excellent online course via YIVO, on the history of Ashkenazi Jews, mostly concerning their lives over centuries in Poland. My family came from Russia, Poland, and Romania, and they didn’t even want to talk about the old country, except perhaps in Yiddish profanities because they wanted to put these things behind them and embrace their new life.
Despite all the insecurity over whether one was going to be alive and successful today or downtrodden or dead tomorrow, via changes in political or religious leadership and attitudes, these people led full, effective lives leaving behind much in the way of art, literature, science and other fine arts, despite what was lost to us, including the cut off generations.
I have Jewish relatives from Iran, although most emigrated due to the Revolutionary Regime, they had thriving, full and successfully happy lives despite living under corrupt dictatorships with much instability.
So, my suggestion, and think of it like a diet, is to limit your exposure to news, and especially the latest fearmongering on social media and otherwise, and limit yourself in regard to discussions of such. You may feel this is therapeutic and helpful, and while I can’t say what might help another person, if you are already having symptoms that are affecting your family, work, and life, you may need to go cold turkey, at least for a while, and cut yourself off. This is especially true of fake or highly biased news sources, even if they are the ones you agree with. A good site for media vetting is, “The Smell Test of Media,” and you can look it up yourself.
To replace these behaviors that are, for most not so well vaccinated and protected, such as professionals in the field, I suggest filling your time with studying something that is meaningful as part of your own religious or philosophical tradition, but if this includes conspiracy theories or the aforementioned fear mongering and use of fake and highly biased media; drop it for your own well-being and avoid contexts in which these things are promoted, especially without allowing counter-information for enlightenment and little things like free speech and free flow of information which can only enlighten us all by shedding light on darkness, things hidden due to taboo or social scorn and shunning for non-conformists.
I suggest reading classic literature in your own area of interest, and listening to audios is something I have discovered works when I am tired. Take advantage of hundreds of excellent free online courses via Coursera, edX, and others. Pursue your favorite hobbies, as Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow Your Bliss,” that is unless your bliss is something dysfunctional and anything that produces fearmongering. Seek out those things which you find nurturing and comforting within your own religious and philosophical traditions, but if these things are driving you into a dark place, jettison them for your own well-being, and that of those around you.
As you fill your mind with good things, even in the midst of what is apparently bad news, but much may be hype and not as bad as it sounds. Think: If he really had to power to do all these nasty things, like certain banana republics and third-world dictators, he would have done it already and quietly rather than be crowing about it. Don’t you think?
The way I roll is that quality information helps me to manage my anxiety, and when my younger son was diagnosed with autism, I immediately sought out every book, website, parent and professional to fill my knowledge base, with most of it good and some of it not so good.
If this is your bent, I highly recommend the books and lectures of Jonathan Haidt, Yuval Hariri, and I love that line of Dan Ariely, “What is the best lie? It is the one you already want to believe.”
Some oldies but goodies are, “Escape From Freedom,” by Erich Fromm, and, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” by Richard Hofstadter, “The Fundamentalist Mind,” by Stephen Larson, which has been highly recommended although I haven’t read it, I have seen some excellent excerpts, the most notable comment that a mass movement doesn’t require a God/god, but it does require a devil, in other words, it needs an enemy, a boogieman to elicit fear and hatred as well as a need for a powerful leader (the alpha male syndrome) who will provide protection, make everyone obey, (authoritarianism) and provide a place where those deemed of lower status in society with no way out, a road to raise their self-esteem, as they are now part of something big and powerful, and take on that status.
I discovered an intriguing book in my son’s room, which leads me to surmise this was required reading. The book is titled, “All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, by Hubert Dreyfus & Sean Dorrance Kelly. The book has a glowing blurb by David Brooks of the NYT, “A smart, sweeping run through the history of Western philosophy. Important for the controversial advice it offers on how to live.” I just love controversial, don’t you?
This may move to the top spot on my very full reading, Audible and YouTube lists.
Beware if your mind is in the garbage can, your paws and nose will soon follow.
Halachic opinion by Rabbi Jezebel, the first female pug/terrier mix and non-human to be ordained, by what authority, I cannot say:
Any item that is soft and low is suitable for urination, even if you just went outside for half an hour. Faked them out with that pseudo-squat now, didn’t we?
This includes bathroom rugs and clothing left on the bathroom or bedroom floor. Your mom told you to put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket and keep the doors closed, so this is all your fault for failing to observe the mitzvah of honoring your parents.
A cozy, fleece blanket laying across the living room couch is acceptable for your uses, but parts of the blanket not touching the floor are assur (forbidden.) As to satin and brocade pillows on the couch, there is a minority opinion that these may also serve your excretory needs, as long as you first drag the pillow onto the floor. Once the brocade pillow is within your domain of the floor, you are also permitted to rip off beads, buttons, lace, and any other attachments. Try not to swallow, as vet bills are expensive, but hey, you are worth it.
Do not, under any circumstances, make use of the leather pillows, as they are quite easy to wipe off and would deprive your Sapien inferiors of the mitzvah of expending much effort and expense in cleaning up after you. All other pillows have a sign on them that you read as, “Ladies Room.”
Defecation in the house is only permitted in hidden and difficult to reach for retrieval spots, like behind the tv or dining room table. You must also do your dirty deed quickly, and not be observed, lest your hiding place be discovered. A good time is when mom is mixing your food for you. If your Sapien slaves yell or even raise their voice, seem alarmed, use inappropriate and demeaning language or appear displeased, or react in any manner except calm nonchalance upon discovering your precious droppings, feel free to run around the house in a maniacal state in order to release all that pent up energy and frustration.
While your Sapien is attempting to remove your leavings with a paper towel, you are permitted to attack the paper towel (but not the hand, unless by error in the confusion of your rambunctiousness) and try to rip it to shreds, thus making the process more difficult and encouraging them to wait till later when you are out of the way, thus leaving the scent of your innards to waft its lovely way throughout their home.
If your Sapien decides to take a shower, and refuses to allow your company, sneak in anyway behind them, and remain quiet until you are thoroughly saturated. Your Sapiens and their home benefit from wet dog smell, even though they claim otherwise.
There are arguments regarding modesty issues in showering with Sapiens of a different gender, although certain scholars allow lenience as long as you keep your eyes low, although feet and shampoo bottles are fair game. Your Sapien mom really does need for you to get under her feet and try to make her slip, even though she tried to get you in the crate with that treat tactic – we don’t fall for that anymore. You are providing excellent physical therapy as she will have to strengthen her muscles to avoid falling over you and breaking her neck, and you are also encouraging her, and others, to develop mindfulness regarding your low estate under their feet.
As an added bonus, your Sapien mom will decide to buy you a wardrobe of doggie sweaters, as once you have soaked your sweater, there is not time to wash and dry your sweater before you need to go outside, as it is winter, even if it is San Diego.
Further rulings to follow. Opinion is that it is not legal to get that kid who left his stuff all over the floor to strong arm me into my crate (even with my favorite toys and treats) prior to a Bet Din trial. This is false imprisonment sans judicial process. Yeah, I thought I scared him by squirming out of his arms (but landing on my feet) on the way to potty last week, so he would be fearful of hurting this incredibly tough pup, and thus be rendered ineffectual for any service.
Michael, I hope this is helpful.
Please see a doctor or chiro and get a referral from a friend. There is not a lot you can do for soft tissue damage, and I assume you were checked out so you know nothing else is wrong. Massage, heat, ice, ultrasound and medication can help if pain is bad but better Advil, or you know what, than Vicodin/narcotics, etc. If you need x-rays please get them. You should have used ice following the injury to limit swelling and later heat or alternate. You didn’t tell me if you received any immediate medical attention or not, or if your friend the Polish attorney did. I assume the Polish Neo-Nazis left his girlfriend alone?
I want you to eat better than Burger King all the time; it is not healthy. You can buy food at the market and make salads and sandwiches even though you do not cook, or find a gf who can cook for you, or eat at the kebob place where they call you, “my brother,” which must be healthier, as you are already an honorary Muslim for getting beat up for being mistaken for one.
Please, Jewish moms know everything, and mom knows you are spending too much time partying and you are likely drinking too much beer, not healthy as other things are safer. Plus beer is fattening, as you know and you were concerned you were putting on weight by eating too much junk food also and not going to a gym and you can’t run on concrete due to your RA.
Yeah, I know you don’t drink Vodka and only drink craft beer, and Jonathan told me how much he liked the Polish and other Eastern European beers I bought him, as I can’t drink alcohol now and am not that crazy about beer, mostly like Japanese rice lagers, hate hoppy stuff you guys like.
I know, not many Jews in Poland, perhaps especially Poznan, not as much a major city as Warsaw, but maybe go to the community center and find nice family, nice girl to cook for you and help you organize yourself like that girl from Seattle you met in Budapest. I don’t think you take too good care of yourself, as it is obvious. Maybe you will come home for Passover or something and you will get a ticket back; I will pay it myself if necessary. So then you can get your visa, get a full-time job, or do that business you wanted to with Jason and help your mom someday? You are 25.
I hope your friends get a laugh out of this if you show it to them. I know I am the cool mom among your’s and Jonathan’s friends. The son of our long-time family friends I connected with on FB, as the last time I saw him, he was five and ran away in the mall and hid under the clothing racks, and I wonder if he still does this at 31 when his gf wants him to go shopping and look at clothes with her?
Love you, and if you can’t be good be careful, as it looks like you haven’t been. xxxxxxxxx
Our office at Watertower Place, on the tony Magnificent Mile, across the hall from where Ann Landers got her nails done at Lucille’s, usually went out to lunch once a month or so to connect, discuss interoffice issues and enjoy the generosity of our boss who always happily footed the bill.
We took turn covering the phones, back in the day when you could actually make a call to your doctor and get the response of a real human. The one left behind always had something brought back from whatever eatery was chosen.
This luncheon focused on Dr. Macher’s courting of a female gynecologist from North Carolina, a graduate of Duke Medical School and I don’t recall where she did her OB residency, but am sure it was somewhere prestigious on the East Coast. When I say, “courting,” this was not meant to imply that any romantic desires on the part of our brilliant boss were intended, but things could have appeared that way, as doctor wanted this lovely lady to join his practice so badly, I remember him having me call to arrange for Dove Bars, at the time a new rage, developed in the home city, to be shipped, properly packaged frozen, to her home in Durham, with a note on his personal stationary saying that he hoped she would enjoy this taste of Chicago and consider the many benefits of relocating to join his busy and lucrative practice, which he would gratefully welcome. Doctor Macher may have been rather shy in social situations, but was like Clark Kent changing in the phone booth into Superman (SuperDoc?) in regard to his profession.
Let’s call the target of his recruitment Dr. Leslie Swimmer, the lady put up at doctor’s (or the practice’s for tax purposes) expense at the historic Drake Hotel, that first opened in the roaring 20’s, located nearby. She joined us for afternoon tea at the Palm Court, (I believe that was the name back then also, but admit I cheated just now and looked it up.) He really wanted to make her short stay enjoyable and memorable, and made arrangements in advance for Dr Swimmer to sample the best of the Windy City, fortunately in lovely Spring time, and had taken great effort in organizing the aspects of her stay, including reservations and plans for her to experience everything from our famous Second City Improv, to the best jazz clubs,to Chicago stuffed pizza and famous hot dogs, to tickets to a concert by Spyra Gyra, a hot fusion jazz group we loved and had seen in Chicago, to the best in ethnic eateries located in their own enclaves, to experimental theater where you walk in and pay like $5.00 off Lincoln Avenue.
I recommended one of my favorite local hot spots for our hoped for recruit, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reba on Halsted. I recall the first time I went there when a fellow aerobics class member suggested we go to this great, new Tapas Bar. As I was not familiar with tapas, historically served in Spain, meaning small plates of traditional dishes so patrons could sample many recipes rather than ordering an entree, I thought I heard my exercise companion say, “topless bar.” I couldn’t imagine why this lady was inviting a group of sweaty women to join her at a topless bar, and I am not the only person who made this mistake, so there.
Their talented chef had morphed this concept into unique and creative menu items, and there was always something new on the chalk board that he had whipped up that day to test via customers whether this would merit the regular menu. Often he walked around proffering samples of his latest, gauging the response as a success or failure. This establishment is still in business more than 30 years later, so something must have clicked.
The boss had narrowed the candidates to three, and one informed us she recently accepted a position in the much more welcoming climate of California. I am sure Dr. Swimmer was his top choice as much or even more due to her pleasant demeanor, Southern manners and gentle, sensitive disposition than her stellar resume.
His second or third choice was a Chicago native, so no relocation issue, but she also had a number of offers as female OB/Gyns enjoyed a greater demand than supply. This doctor had gone to medical school and was friendly with Mauro, an exercise buddy of my then boyfriend, later husband, and we had gone out all together one time. Doc was all excited, surmising I knew this candidate well and would have some influence on her decision, but sadly I had to inform him that I barely knew her and there was no romantic involvement between the weight-lifting buddy from Columbia and his former medical school colleague.
A few months prior Dr. Macher discussed with myself and Victoria, our all around street-wise, snarkiest employee (No, I lost this one to her) his thoughts on adding a female OB/Gyn to the office. As much as doctor was known for his sensitivity and gentleness, (and this was the 80’s) our boss acknowledged that some women felt more comfortable with a female doctor examing their most private areas as well as discussing said locations, and as his practice was burgeoning beyond what he could even uncomfortably handle, he thought he may as well add the professionals his affluent clientele were seeking.
I recall calling the medical journals, especially the ones in that specialty, to place an ad for a female OB/Gyn to join our practice. This must have been during the early days of political correctness, as I was informed by the journals that I could not place an ad requesting a female doctor, but the code was to title it, “Wanted Female/Male OB/Gyn for Busy Chicago Practice.” So, I wrote up the ad, paying heed to current PC standards of the 1980’s, and the office prepared to receive lots of responses. One problem is that back in those days there were fewer female doctors, and thus fewer females in this specialty, although most women went into pediatrics, OB/Gyn or Dermatology, the so-called, “soft,” specialties more inviting to women in the man’s world of medicine.
In addition, women weren’t treated so kindly or respectfully in the male-dominated worlds of medical school and residency programs, so many of these ladies had developed a tough, hard exterior to deal with the pressures and even harassment, and while perhaps this was already an aspect of their nature, I can’t say. But it was clear this practice would not find such a candidate suitable, as the last thing our gentle, sensitive doctor needed for his patients who preferred to be treated by a physician of their own gender, would be a tough, hard-as-nails, pushy, insensitive, gynecologist who focused on efficiently treating body parts rather than persons. In other words, you don’t hire a woman, who for whatever reason, carries the worst of male traits.
As the responses came in we forwarded them all to the boss. His top pick was Leslie by a mile. Not only were her credentials and recommendations impeccable, Leslie, with her sweet, easy-going, extraordinarily polite Southern manner was the perfect person to service our patients and fit into the close-knit, friendly if occasionally harried, office culture.
We engaged in friendly banter, asking Leslie questions about her life in Durham, hoping to connect and present ourselves as staff she would be happy to work with. As the social chit chat continued, Leslie asked Dr. Macher, “What was the most unusual case you have had?” Now, at around 45, doctor received his training in the military and had been in practice nearly 20 years, and his sub-specialty was infertility, then a cutting-edge area of medical care and not often easily available. Doctor wanted to train a younger partner to take over more of his practice as he looked toward retirement, although not in the immediate future, but he did seek more time to spend with family and vacation in Hawaii and other exotic locales, although I think doctor was a bit of a workaholic, happiest when busily engaged in the most challenging case.
I expected our boss to bring up the lady with a sort of double uterus, who he offered to treat at no cost as she had no insurance, due to the uniquely rare presentation of this congenital situation. For those of you not familiar with the lives of medical professionals, their daily lives are not so exciting and they live for some rare and fascinating case.
Years ago I had a friend whose husband was a dentist. She complained to him how it was often boring being a homemaker, as she did the same tasks every day, the same cleaning, cooking, shopping and carting the kids around. To her surprise, her husband replied that it was boring being a dentist, although his practice was doing well and it more than paid the bills, as he did the same procedures day in and day out. In fact, a homemaker likely has more opportunity for flexibility, creativity and choice, as Roberta could decide what to make for dinner, or choose to order pizza instead, and schedule her household duties as she desired and hire someone to help her with her more unpleasant tasks, although she was of the old school that wanted to do everything herself as no one else could do things to her satisfaction.
Andy the dentist didn’t have that luxury, to choose to do fillings in colors to match his mood rather than the patient’s enamel, or decide that today he was going to take the kids to the beach rather than do teeth whitenings for trophy wives from Rancho Santa Fe or less wealthy, yet still spoiled and demanding Del Mar homemakers. He couldn’t hire someone to take over his cosmetic dentistry cases, the most lucrative, yet the biggest pain in his rear as he explained to us, as a result of unrealistic expectations on the part of clients, although he did his best to make the expected results clear.
Back to Dr. Macher’s most interesting case, and I certainly wasn’t expecting the answer he provided but assumed in all his years of practice, including the military, he would bring up a case that was medically unusual, and so interesting, not one that could have been written by some tv scriptwriter out to create a suspenseful medical-themed drama.
Doctor thought for a moment and then related, “Well, there was the time during an uncomplicated, vaginal delivery resulting in healthy baby and momma, that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it home for dinner alive or in one piece.” This case occurred during my time with the practice about six months prior, and although the staff, including myself, had met the patient in question, we were never privy to all the lurid details, even though there was no such thing as HIPPA in those days.
Mary O’Mallery* – her name was something like that, suitably Irish to match her blazing red hair, sparkling green eyes, and stereotypical Irish temper. Both she and her husband were Chicago police officers, and I think hubby was some big shot detective, while she worked juvenile division. Mary and her husband Patrick were infertility patients of the practice. I recall Mary telling us how when she learned she was ovulating while at the office for a check, she called her husband’s supervisor at work and told him to make sure Patrick didn’t leave as she had something critical to tell him.
So, Mary arrives, speeding the short distance, (of course police officers in Chicago speed with impunity) to the macho environment of her husband’s profession and hands him a paper bag containing a plastic, specimen cup. “Pat,” she breathed excitedly, “I’m ovulating right now. Just take your five fingers and go in the bathroom and bring me back a good sperm sample. I want to get it back to the office before they go to lunch, so hurry up.” No pressure here, of course. Now Pat wasn’t happy to mesh their infertility issues with his job, but both of them had been trying to have a baby for a couple years, and the latest drugs and procedures available in the 1980’s appeared to have been successful for them.
A few weeks later, when Mary’s pregnancy test was positive, and when the hormone levels remained high, indicating the pregnancy was going to continue, the couple were thrilled. I recall Mary coming in for her regular check-ups, and her pregnancy, if difficult to begin, moved along smoothly with no glitches, compared with other infertility cases. I don’t know about doctor, but the office wasn’t aware that as the pregnancy progressed, the couple began having marital troubles related to Mary’s discovery that big shot detective was having an affair with a young receptionist at the precinct during her pregnancy. Now many of you are aware that pregnancy seems to heighten emotions and a need for security and stability, and while I never met the husband (s0me of the other staff had, briefly) I knew Mary wasn’t the type to take this revelation calmly, as she never took anything calmly, whether it was good or bad news.
Mary left Patrick to his extramarital excursions and moved in with her sister’s family. When Mary went into labor, she swore her entire family to secrecy, but somehow Patrick found out, and perhaps he had been calling the hospital, or some officer was stationed at the hospital and annoyed the staff into revelation, and no family member squealed.
Patrick showed up at the hospital in the middle of Mary’s active labor, with doctor and a nurse attending to her, as his point of view was that this was his child, his son – known via amnio, as ultrasound wasn’t of the same quality back then, and he had paid good money out-of-pocket for some of the treatment, and believed he had a right to see his child come into the world, despite the extenuating circumstances of the tense situation between him and his wife.
Doctor had rushed to the hospital from his suburban home, and said he was stopped and threatened with a ticket – I thought doctors driving to an emergency were exempt from tickets and even provided with a police escort to the hospital, but I guess it depends on the mood of the officer, and things have changed. But when the officers heard the emerging infant belonged to one of their own, the ticketing officer relented and allowed the good doc to hurry on to his business.
Mary was progressing well, a textbook labor case, but first labors are longer, and it would be several hours before she was ready to push. Doctor was examining his patient for cervical dilation and effacement, the manner in which an OB gauges the stage of labor and how soon the delivery phase will occur, which if at night determines how long he can nap before coming back to check his patient, or during daytime hours he may be able to return to office patients before shuttering back to the hospital next door in time for delivery. He called Crystal, the office manager, to inform her of his projected schedule, and asked her to reschedule afternoon appointments that required his presence, asking the support staff to handle routine weight and urine checks.
Doctor was so focused on what he was doing, as he always is, he didn’t even notice as Patrick opened the door and marched into the room. Mary began screaming nasty words in English and Gaelic at him, demanding the *%^$# cheater leave immediately. Mary kept screaming, while Patrick quietly wouldn’t budge, his guns at ready.
With Mary demanding her unfaithful during pregnancy husband leave, doctor considered that this guy was not likely to listen to a request in that vein from himself. In his mind he imagined a scenario of calling in security, and between some hospital security guard and this big shot, highly trained detective – I think he worked narcotics – I wouldn’t place my bets on the hospital to win this one, or even that stirring up already hot passions was going to be beneficial to either mother or baby. Mary’s labor slowed due to stress, and her contractions became irregular and weaker.
So, doctor calls in the nurse to attend to and calm Mary and then takes Patrick aside to speak with him. He tells Patrick that he will need to get washed up and prepared with a gown and other paraphernalia to make sure baby wasn’t contaminated with dad’s bacteria and infective abilities and that his nurse would assist him in doing so. Doctor then informs his nurse that she is to take as long as possible with this process, spending time educating the detective soon-to-be father of the process of labor and hospital requirements to keep mother and baby medically safe and optimum.
After an extensive delay, with Patrick suitably attired, the nurse knocks at the door and they exchange places, with the nurse attending to Mary, while doc goes outside the room to speak with Patrick, who seemed to have calmed down. Doctor tells dad he may stay in the room and observe the birth, but he must sit in a chair by the window and not budge, and not say anything, and if Mary’s or the baby’s well-being was threatened by his presence, he would need to agree to leave. Doc got officer’s promise that he would cooperate, as now he thoroughly understood the stakes at hand. Doc would periodically come over to Patrick to speak to him and explain what was going on and answer any questions, quietly.
Our boss understood that his patient wanted her husband out of the room, yet both were his patients, so he was in a quandary, and given the tense nature of the conflict, he didn’t want to take the risk that hot tempers might lead to something far worse than a patient upset that her wishes weren’t being exactly followed during the birth of her child.
I know Mary and Patrick’s son, named Sean James after relatives, as Mary said, “no way,” to naming her son after his philandering dad, was a healthy and squalling, nearly eight pound baby, whose length suggested he would be tall like his dad rather than petite like his mom, and there was already a smattering of red hair to accompany his squashed little face. Mine were born by C-section, so we didn’t have this issue.
I don’t know what happened afterward, and as I wasn’t aware of this aspect of our patient, I never questioned the clinical staff for gossip, although Mary did show up sans Patrick for her follow-up visits with baby Sean, who vigorously nursed in the waiting room prior to mom’s check-in.
We brought Crystal, who missed the excitement as well as lunch, back a small salad, some tea sandwiches and delicious British sherry truffle cake. Chrystal was always on a perpetual diet, so she had been drinking a diet coke and eating cottage cheese while awaiting our return with the goodies. I guess Crystal’s phone watching failed to match the excitement of our lunchtime conversation. “I was sitting there eating my cottage cheese, and this patient calls and tells me, “I have this discharge. It looks like cottage cheese.” Chrystal was unable to finish her lunch for obvious reasons, and gratefully accepted the menu items Palm Court had so beautifully packaged for her.
This worked in Capitol Hill in Denver in the 1980’s, so perhaps today technology presents some issues, such as if you show up and say you have a reservation for two at 7:30 pm and the staff can’t find your reservation and the establishment schedules their time slots exclusively through Open Table, you may have a bit of explaining to do, but you could possibly just blame Open Table’s buggy system, but I suggest you speak with a techie person about what terminology you should use to make this sort of scam effective in 2017, as my friends all know I am so technically challenged I am now asking my university student son how to answer my smart phone. While I joke in an exaggerated manner about a lot of things with a special fondness for reductio ad absurdum, including my health issues, this is really true.
As a young single woman on the prowl for a suitably affluent mate in the 1980’s, I met a pediatric pulmonologist who practiced at National Jewish Hospital (specializing in lung disease at that time) at a charity fundraiser where I was volunteering. I don’t know if the same holds true in these times of Tinder hookups, but back then charity fundraisers were a great way to meet eligible men, as at least x percentage were single and eligible and these people tended to be successful professionals of some brand (although you wouldn’t likely find any Walmart Associates) and a person who attends a charity fundraiser is usually a decent person in a moral and ethical sense, as their attendance signifies said attendee at least cares about something/someone outside their own selfish interests, although admittedly for some this is an ego boost or designed to promote their own business/financial interests.
As I wasn’t in the income bracket to afford to attend these fundraisers, where one might pay ten times the value of the meal or event as the proceeds support a charitable activity, by volunteering – make sure you are doing something that allows you to mingle and isn’t terribly hard work, like the person who writes the name tags or checks off the reservations, so you get to observe and plan which targets you will approach, and most often they do the approaching if you are an attractive, intelligent, personable female, and these are the only types of females the charity allows to volunteer in a public manner anyway.
I believe I was about 24 and Dr. David Epstein was around 30 or so, and I know the last name is correct, but I am not certain of the first. Look, this was more than 30 years ago, okay? Dr. Epstein smiles at me and his pupils widen, indicating interest, likely sexual interest, as I write his name on his badge and welcome him to this overpriced, poor quality meal where he will be able to mingle with high-level persons who are likely to be useful to his professional advancement and success, as well as perhaps a few attractive, eligible and not obviously sort of gold-digger women, such as myself.
I didn’t and don’t see myself as a gold-digger, as my intention was to be the best and most helpful, supportive, partner I could be, and thus be an asset to any successful professional. On a date, with my broad base of interests, I could be an interesting and fun, witty conversational companion and even if nothing romantic ever transpired, we often remained friendly and in touch sporadically, and I knew if I needed information or even assistance I could call on this network.
I get that things are different today, and these things were present back then in lower status social groups, although now it seems universal, that sex is expected, not even just one of many options, as either the primary event for a date or at least the finale. That wasn’t my gig, and these guys certainly could hire the best in that department or find someone willing to quickly and easily provide these services if that was what their immediate need happened to be.
So, if some YUPPIE, that was the word we ladies used back then for a young guy who might not have exactly made it but already was doing very well for his age, had a high status car (I didn’t care about the car, just what it symbolized and at least guys with these kinds of cars kept them clean and not full of crap that had to be moved out of the way when you got in) and a date meant dinner at a nice restaurant, perhaps a concert or play, and maybe finish off with dropping into a trendy place for jazz and a drink or just coffee at some little all-night place. I remember riding in the car with some guy and he pointed out a bright red sports car (don’t ask me the make I don’t pay attention to these things) and the guy noted, “What a sexy car.” Now those two words, “sexy,” and, “car,” just don’t go together in the same phrase for me. I don’t see anything sexy in a car, just comfort and status, but I get guys who obsess over their cars and all their friends and family joke and call it their baby. We all have stuff like that but I obsess more over books.
Don’t ever go to the guy’s place for a drink or invite him in until you know him well. You are tired or need to get up early for work or some other plausible excuse, but say it with a smile and give him a passionate kiss and then hug him and pat him on the back like you would a little boy, as he is a little boy at heart and wants some mothering too just as much as he wants other things that you are not providing at this time. All that is on your schedule, certainly not his, as this little boy, although he may drive a BMW and have titles in front of his name or at the end of his name like Dr., JD, CPA, PhD, or not have any titles, such as a successful investment banker or stockbroker, he needs much more than some temporary entertainment, he requires someone who will understand his needs, help him in areas that are not his strengths, whether it is organization, common sense (brilliant people like my boss with the multi-million dollar medical practice often lack certain practical, common sense skills, like being able to recognize that someone is taking advantage of them or is planning to scam them due to their significant assets and focus on their area of specialty, such as surgery) or minor social deficits – scientific and techie nerds are fine but no social misfits for me.
Another important issue about humor is that sophisticated forms of humor like satire, parody, etc., require high intelligence, (I really like intelligence in any person, and then this was especially important in a romantic prospect.) I am not talking about physical humor like slipping on a banana peel or crude sexual dick jokes – why is this so funny, don’t all you guys have one, so what? One friend of mine snarkily asked about some guy who thought he was God’s (sexual) gift to women, “What, do you have two? Now that would really be something.” When she related the incident to her mother, mom replied, “Well, perhaps he does have two, the way he comports himself.”
Back to Dr. Epstein. Once I completed my table duties, Dr. Epstein was waiting for me to finish I believe, we bantered about all kinds of humorous incidents in our lives. See, some of these guys work very hard and might have a lot of job stress, so they enjoy fun in their off-hours, certainly don’t talk about your problems (some stupid girls do) or talk about the latest awful thing in the news or on the political scene, well, at least don’t focus on that for the majority of your conversation, as you will then be associated with something negative, rather than with a pleasant memory of laughing and forgetting all your work stressors for the moment.
As one friend of mine noted that it must be genetic that Jews, I think only the Ashkenazi variety like myself, have this self-deprecating, schizoid style of humor most lack an understanding of. Certainly this is a survival of the most adapted trait, and humor allows one an entrance where otherwise it would be closed, and helps people who have suffered greatly and survived feast and famine in regard to regimes and religious groups that would accept and do business with them one day and slaughter and drive them out the next. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli famously said, “Jews are a nervous sort; 1900 years of Christian love have made them so.” I suspect that when Disraeli said, “them,” he really meant us, as although his father had him baptized Anglican so he could have better opportunities in life rather than doors shut in his little Jewish face, and I also read something about the dad getting pissed off at a rabbi, well, that is what rabbis, do, duh. The British PM felt he could do more for his people as a goy, really suspect as to his sympathies, while his good friends and counterparts like Montefiore worked openly on Zionist causes.
I would be suspicious of someone who lacks a sense of humor, especially the ability to laugh at themselves and their own foibles. There was one guy I long-distance dated for a bit and I thought he was very spontaneously witty, as he always had this appropriate line for any situation. Later I saw he repeated the same lines, and as he was an extremely successful insurance salesman, it seems he had a memorized list of stories and one-liners to entertain and connect with his clients and prospects according to their area of interest and perhaps social/ethnic/religious/racial/whatever group, and that is what makes a good salesperson, a chameleon who can make their prospect feel like they are one of them and support all their beliefs, loves, hates, etc. To bond the relationship in even greater trust, the salesperson needs to express the sort of things their target is likely thinking, in areas of the big 3: politics, sex, and religion. A smart person will pick up the cues, and be careful not to make a fatal error here.
Again, sorry for the rabbit/rabbi trails, I will report the funny stories Dr. Epstein related in regard to his work. It seems the latest was a kid, son of some Saudi royal (don’t take this too seriously, as at least back then the Saudi royal family consisted of 20,000+ persons, so it wasn’t exactly unique, just an elite billionaires club you might find anywhere of privileged idiots and assholes. While our affluent subjects usually work for a living, even if it is for daddy’s business or foundation (like one friend of mine Larry I might discuss in another story) in Saudi most royals live on large stipends and don’t need to or desire to work, and many wouldn’t even receive much of an education. This sort of thing is not thought highly of in the US or most of the world.
So this Saudi royal kid around 3 or 4 arrives with his entourage of about 30 family members along with numerous nannies and servants dragged from Riyadh who attended to his every whim before he even opened his sacrosanct little mouth to issue decrees to his anxious slaves – and they were slaves in that society as these, “employees,” were from the lower socio-economic classes of either poorer Muslim-majority nations such as Pakistan, or non-Muslim majority nations such as Nepal and many came from the Philippines. In fact, there was such an epidemic of abuse of Philippine household staff like maids and nannies, including sexual and physical abuse, the Philippine government forbade any Saudi or Gulf States visas for maids, nannies, and other household staff, although professionals such as nurses, hospital staff, etc. were allowed.
There were instances of Philippino maids that had fled to the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and other nearby wealthy Arab enclaves because they had been raped or sexually assaulted by their employers or their family members, (was this part of the job description under, “other duties as assigned?) many had been beaten or otherwise physically abused, and I recall reading about one woman where the toddler scion had incurred some minor injury endemic to male toddlers (such as my own) perhaps falling and getting a nasty looking by not medically significant bruise or busting his lip, which can look really alarming as lips bleed a lot but no medical treatment is required except perhaps a hug and maybe a lollipop. In many cases these, “domestic workers,” signed a contract of an indentured servant nature, where their flight and expenses would be covered by the employer and in return the employee would be required to work a suitable sentence, and would not be allowed to leave their country prior to completing their period of servitude.
For example, I wasn’t exactly pleased, and told a babysitter as much, when I discovered she gave my young son brownies prior to dinner as I had asked her to only provide him with healthy snacks such as cheese slices, yogurt, fruit or veggies, even celery with PB, because Michael was so insistent with his begging, crying, demanding and protestations of hunger and malnutrition (he was quite a skilled negotiator even prior to his third birthday.)
However, I just verbally sort of laid into her with my frustration that she failed to follow my instructions due to the demands and manipulations of my toddler, but while I considered I might never use her again except in an emergency when I couldn’t find someone else, it wouldn’t occur to me to grab the nearest implement like a broom or umbrella and proceed to beat her with it. Well, it might occur to me, but I would never enact these sort of fantasy thoughts, as this is both illegal and poor manners in regard to a person visiting your home.
So this Saudi royal arrives at National Jewish Hospital in Denver as it has, at that time, at least according to what Dr. Epstein told me, the reputation as the best place to treat pediatric respiratory diseases. I believe the hospital was created, along with facilities in Arizona, to treat TB, which was no longer a significant problem. Also, the dry climates and clean air of Colorado and Arizona were deemed medically beneficial for those with respiratory diseases, some which lacked the treatment options we have today and with some, there was no viable treatment option except a healthy climate. Sadly some person doing a study on air pollution discovered that the corner where NJH was located was the most polluted location of downtown Denver.
So, this Saudi precious darling arrived at National Jewish Hospital (yeah, I know what you are thinking) with his doting brood of attendants that likely booked an entire floor of some ritzy hotel in Denver (Molly Brown perhaps, or do their tastes run to standard stuff like a Hilton resort, or perhaps they own property on the La Costa Golf Course as I am told this was Mafia property at one time.) My eligible bachelor doctor explained, with disgust, that he diagnosed this kid with asthma, and it wasn’t even severe asthma, and he suspected the numerous stuffed toys and ornate brocade blankets that were dust mite magnets as well as held all sorts of nasty stuff not good for anyone, much less a child with asthma as additionally these could not be washed (yes I know children’s toys today are more likely to be washable and hypoallergenic) while not the cause of this scion’s illness, certainly exacerbated it. He was also perplexed, as he not aware the caliber of Saudi medicine, even during the 80’s was so poor no health professional was located within their country that could diagnose a kid with something as obvious as asthma.
I have asthma also which is rather mild unless I encounter an allergen or irritant like cigarette smoke. But as a child, my asthma was more severe, complicated by the fact that there were many allergens in the geographic area where I lived.
So, physicians and staff sent the entourage home with medication, and treatment for asthma wasn’t as advanced as it is today. They also sent instructions commonly given to parents of children with asthma, that the child’s bedroom needs to be basic, just bed, hypoallergenic linens, and furniture that is easy to clean with no dust gathering items out in open. They staff also provided instructions on cleaning, including that of linens and instructions on making his home environment as medically beneficial as possible. I believe they did allergy testing and provided injections to be taken home and given by a nurse, as there are foreign nurses who work in the Kingdom, as they put it.
Interesting that there was a Kuwaiti guy in one of my health care management classes. He told me that medical care at that time in his home country at that time was abysmal. Most of their doctors came from Egypt, and a system of bribes in that country allowed a person to graduate medical school and practice who was not fit to mop the floor. Wealthy people went to London or some major foreign city for treatment. I know some of these Gulf States counties contracted for foreign medical professional and support staff to build modern hospitals and hire qualified staff. But even this was beset with bribes and dysfunction as back then (now too?) a member of the royal family had to be involved or a partner in any business endeavor, and let’s just say things weren’t exactly kosher. I know, not the best choice of words.
So, of course, after becoming acquainted at this charity event, Dr. Epstein asked if I would like to go out afterward. I don’t recall what we did, as we already had eaten dinner, perhaps we went to a piano bar or some place to hear music and get drinks, and one thing we had in common is neither of us were big on drinking more than one alcoholic drink. I guess because David was short, about as tall as I was at the time, only 5’3, or maybe he was a bit taller. I don’t know why some ladies don’t like short guys. As I am short there isn’t the issue of towering over a guy and feeling awkward. Some cultures don’t find this problematic, such as the Arab and other Mideastern cultures, where you could see King Hussein and the Shah of Iran, both rather short, with towering beauties for wives, they stand proudly beside. I even spoke with an Israeli Arab Christian when I was there, also in the 80’s, and he agreed this wasn’t an issue in his culture, but Americans and some others can be so dumb sometimes.
David drove a black BMW, luxury model but not the top one. Now I know little about cars, although I get guys really get into all these details of power and performance. I just notice the status of the car, and yes I know the difference between the basic and luxury model, and the hierarchy of cost and status of cars. Even my older son when he was little learned to notice status cars (must have been precursor of elitism which mom shares as he won’t go into a Walmart) and this little 2-year-old would say, “Cedees,” for Mercedes, and as soon as he learned his alphabet he could say, “BMW,” and would pick out these cars in parking lots, likely due to recognizing the symbol.
The incident in question in the title occurred during our first real date. Gosh, sorry, I know other people complain I take so long to get to the point because there are so many interesting turn-offs, although we do get there finally.
David picked me up after work on a Saturday – I think he had to work or had to come in on call. We didn’t have any exact plans and he drove to Capitol Hill or some other trendy area – David likes trendy. I like trendy too, but a restaurant must have good quality food and service with ambiance a plus but not required, well it is nice for a romantic evening. This was prior to my gig writing restaurant reviews for The North County Entertainer many years later, but I already was a critic, pretty much of everything I used or paid for, as I notice details of things that are important to me.
Capitol Hill was a gay area back then when gayness was not exactly accepted in the mainstream, but basically cool among the trendies. I recall there was a grocery chain called, “King Soopers,” and people would commonly call the store in this area, “Queen Soopers.” A person who found their photo in the newspaper in Denver of themselves in front of that store with the headline saying something about, “Queen Soopers,” filed a nuisance lawsuit as he didn’t like being identified with this title just because he happened to be shopping at the store at that time and it is true there was never any signed release for a photo where one could identify the person. Someone at the paper wasn’t paying attention to their legal department, I presume, but he only got $5,000, I would think because he didn’t have the money to hire an attorney and it would be difficult to prove there were much in the way of real damages. That settlement check likely paid for more than a few nice meals and entertainment in said trendy area, though. Too bad I didn’t get myself in that photo-op.
David found a place to park, quite a feat on a Saturday during prime time and in a prime space. We walked a bit to look at eateries and decide where we might like to eat. Neither of us planned our evening, so neither of us made a reservation. I tended to go to places more close to my home in also trendy Glendale, at one time (or perhaps still?) the city noted for having the most clubs in the US, which surprised me. Glendale tended to have larger establishments, unlike the smaller ones in Capitol Hill and other downtown Yuppie neighborhoods, I guess due to real estate leasing costs.
So we find a place we think we will like and go in and speak to the Maitre D. He said, “What is your name, we have a 90-minute wait.” David and I shook our heads at each other as we were both a bit hungry, and this seemed like too long a wait. So we went to the restaurant next door and asked the lady at the front how long the wait was. She said an hour and fifteen minutes or so. This also wasn’t much better, so guess who had a bright idea? David suggested maybe we should drive someone outside this trendy area where we could at least eat our dinner before next week. The problem is the really good places all require reservations.
I would have loved to go to Cafe Giovanni on Market Street, which was rated as the top restaurant in Denver, but reservations there need to be made far in advance. Another really hot new place with a hot new chef was Dudley’s, and once I was on a date with a different guy, named Johnny who worked for his dad’s company as a rep We stopped in late, but not on a weekend, perhaps it was their slow day like Monday or Tuesday, just to have dessert, as they make all these delicious work of art desserts, and they had a table for us, as we explained we already had dinner as they were closing in an hour or so.
Dudley’s was gaining ground on Cafe Giovanni’s, at least this is what I heard. While Gio breathed sedate class – I went there for lunch once and the tasting menu was so fun, tiny bites of all their specialties. The trio of desserts I relived in future dreams, and one I recall in most detail was an angel cake type roll, filled with Grand Marnier soaked orange slices. But Dudley’s drew a younger, less reserved crowd, with its hot new chef who always had his latest experiment brewing. Cafe Giovanni’s was reserved and elegant, while Dudley’s with its hot new chef always offered something surprising and delightful, and dedicated fans thrilled more to the suspense than the food, I think. Dudley’s closed suddenly after only being in business a couple years, despite its growing success. I heard a rumor it got busted for cocaine and knowing the clientele, as well as the devotion of the staff in pleasing its patrons, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Johnny was a really fun guy as he had an expense account so dinner or whatever was always on dad. I know it is bad form to pad your expense account, but if the boss is your dad, I would think that falls into a different category, as what is family for? Our expensive meals and entertainment on dad meant nothing, as Johnny informed me that he once dated a single mom and bought her diapers, baby stuff, and food at a convenience store owned by a gas station, which he paid for with his company gas card. I met the dad, who liked me, of course as the nice Jewish girl stereotype, who would be a good influence on his son and make him settle down at 30, and I think his mother had died of cancer a couple years ago. Johnny visited me on a business trip when he went to a sales convention in Chicago.
The convention was stuff like tools or something not really interesting to me. So Johnny so considerately asked if I would like to go get a mani-pedi, massage or facial or something at the hotel that hosted the convention, and I don’t even recall which one it was. Sure, what a nice offer, I have never had a date or a boyfriend offer to treat me to this sort of stuff. I don’t think it is because they wouldn’t want to, but these things are not on the radar of most guys, but what was on Johnny’s radar, of course, was how to maximize his use of dad’s resources, as certainly he wasn’t going to suffer any negative consequences for such behavior, and dad probably knows and is laughing about it, maybe even the diapers.
I spotted a place that I recalled a friend saying she had gone there for her and her husband’s anniversary and it was so special as they did tableside service. This wasn’t so common back then and is even rarer now, as this practice is so cool and fun but very expensive for the establishment as it is labor intensive and requires very skilled labor and enough of it to satisfy all the requests of the patrons. Tableside service is where they might do a duck in brandy and then flambe it in front of you, and part of the service is style, with the staff putting on a bit of a show. Once at a hotel where I won a weekend for two in some writing contest, hubby and I ordered our Caesar salad and it was made for two in front of us, including the dressing was made on the spot and the person asks you exactly how your want things, as everything is made to order. My son loves creme brulee, and dishes like Crepe Suzette are made in this manner.
So I told Dr. Epstein to let me handle this, and we went inside. I walked up to the Maitre D and effortlessly said, “Table for two, 7:30 pm, Dr. Epstein.” I really think the “doctor,” part might have been helpful, as we were escorted to a table without any check of the reservation list, which back then was low tech, as in written on paper.
The menu looked scrumptious and we were hungry and sorry, I don’t even recall the name, but it likely isn’t there any longer, although my favorite sushi place is, right near one apartment I had in a house built in the 19th century called, “Sushi Den,” the first time I was brave enough to eat real, raw sushi, not just California rolls. I didn’t grow up with a very exciting or expansive palate, and when growing up I don’t think there was even one sushi bar in the DC Metro area. The first time I tried sushi was when on a trip to California at the age of 18, but I just had cucumber and CA rolls and failed to venture father. I suppose I succumbed to the sushi bigotry I was brought up with, which includes such discriminatory ideology as, “Yuk, raw fish, that is disgusting, who could eat that?” Currently, sushi is our family’s favorite food.
I ordered an incredible duck with apricot sauce and brandy, while David picked Steak Diane, as he was much more of a carnivore than me. I had a glass of wine recommended by our sommelier while David, not a big drinker anyway had a coke as he was on call, but didn’t think he would get called in and mentioned that considering how good this meal was he might forget to change the batteries in his pager, or some other excuse if someone dared to interrupt our evening. His practice was like this, as there were rarely emergencies someone else couldn’t handle, as he didn’t do surgery and basically anyone could give the advice to go to the ER if necessary.
While I was digging into the duck, with David entranced by the steak, our waiter came by and asked, “Excuse me, what time did you say your reservation was?” Now I doubt they suspected that such an upstanding member of society as a doctor and I am sure they heard us discussing the crazy stuff that went on at the hospital, would allow his date to fake a reservation just because they both were hungry and not in the mood to drive somewhere to find a place to eat not so trendy and in demand, but perhaps they thought we or they made an error as to the time. And likely the couple who had the 7:30 reservation showed up a bit late, and now were waiting for their table. Sorry to those people whose table we stole. I promise never to do it again. Well, maybe I don’t, but you can’t really do this so well today.
After the waiter left, David whispered to me, and it wasn’t sweet nothings as you might imagine. He said, “I was wondering if he was going to remove our food.” I can’t imagine what an establishment could do even if our subterfuge was discovered and they certainly can’t prove, more likely they figured either their staff or myself were mistaken about the time or date of the reservation. Last time I looked, stealing a reservation was not a crime in any state, and as our order was going to be triple digits once we finished dessert and coffee, why would they do anything?
David and I had a third date that was our last, but we remained friends. I learned on date three that David’s father had been killed in the Vietnam War, and he had a lot of bitterness about that, especially toward God and religion of all kinds, and that wasn’t something I felt would work in a serious relationship. He also invited me to come in for a “night cap,” after our date, and I pled fatigue and realized this wasn’t where I wanted to go, and he might likely expect things to move along if we had another date.
Once I ran into him, telling him I had been sick and as I had no insurance at the time, I went to the ER at Denver Med Center to be treated. David was upset at me and asked why I hadn’t called him, as he would have taken care of me. I guess I don’t like to bother or take advantage of people in that way.
For some reason, I went through this phase of being sick almost continually for about six months, and I have heard this occurs sometimes in early 20’s, just immune system issues? It was nothing serious but I had one case of strep after another, and one case of bronchitis after another, and colds would bring on asthma requiring me to go to the hospital for treatment, as the medications I use today were not yet developed. My dad informed me that he had not told my grandmother I was sick as he didn’t want to worry her, however, he had no problem telling her I was rarely working (with temps when I felt better) so dad told me, “your grandmother just thinks you are being lazy.” Yeah, thanks.
When I went back East for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party, she took me to her doctor who was very thorough and was an expert on vitamins. He discovered an infection in my gum, a pocket by a wisdom tooth, which I didn’t end up removing until I was over 50 and had worse problems. Wow, some doctor checking my mouth, and then he put me on some supplements. Things got better after that, whether due to the treatment or not.
I did look up Dr. Epstein and he wasn’t at National Jewish, and as this is such a common name I don’t think I could find him the way I sadly discovered my former boss had died in 2008 at the age of 66 due to cancer. Well, David, I hope you recall that little adventure with fondness, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you tried it for yourself sometimes, of course having your date be the “front man.”